Listening task 1: Around the world

A Listen. People are talking about superstitions. What countries have these superstitions? What do they mean? Complete the missing information.




1  a black cat




__the U.S.__

__have bad luck___




2  a snake









3  a full moon









4  a broom









Answer & Audioscripts





the U.S.

have bad luck


Get money



Find the person you’ll marry


Have good luck



Meet scary ghosts and spirits


Have a bright future



Won’t have unwanted visitors

The U.K.

Have very bad luck

Audioscripts in B below

B Listen again. Circle the correct answers.

1   The man knew / didn’t know the Scottish superstition.

2   The woman believes / doesn’t believe the Thai superstition.

3   When there’s a full moon, the woman usually goes out / stays home.

4   The man thinks he is lucky / unlucky.

Answer & Audioscripts

1 didn’t know

2 believes

3 goes out

4 unlucky


1   a black cat

Woman 1:   Have you ever noticed that the same object can have a different meaning depending on the country? People in different countries have different superstitious beliefs about certain animals, numbers, or objects. Like a cat – a black cat especially can be lucky or unlucky depending on where you live.

Man 1:   Yeah. In the U.S., people think if a black cat walks in front of you, you’ll have bad luck.

Woman 1:   Well, I heard that in Scotland, people think that if you see a black cat in front of your house, you’re going to get money.

Man 1:   Wow. Really? I’ve never heard that one.

2   a snake

Woman 2:    How about snakes? In Thailand, we think that if you dream about a snake holding you, it means you’ll find the person you’ll marry soon. I think it’s true. My mother dreamed that a snake was holding her, and she met my father the next day!

Man 2:   That’s interesting. In Japan, we believe that seeing a white snake brings good luck.

Woman 2:   Hmm. I’ve never seen a white one.

3   a full moon

Woman 3:   In Spain we have an old superstition about the moon. People warn that if you go out of the house on the night of a full moon, you’ll meet scary ghosts and spirits. You won’t find me staying home on a full moon, though. I’m not superstitious.

Man 3:   Yeah. There are some interesting beliefs about the moon in Turkeys, too. For example, if you are born on the night of a full moon, you’ll grow up and have a very bright future.

Woman 3:   Huh. That’s nice. I like that one.

4   a broom

Man 4:   In my country, Brazil, we have a superstition about brooms. My grandmother always used to put the broom behind the door. She said if you did this, you wouldn’t have any unwanted visitors.

Woman 4:   There’s a superstition about brooms in the U.K., too, especially during the month of May. People say you should never buy a new broom during the month of May, or you’ll have very bad luck.

Man 4:   Uh-oh.

Woman 4:   What’s wrong?

Man 4:   Well, I moved into my new apartment in May, and I bought a new broom when I moved. No wonder I never have any luck.

Listening task 2: The real meaning

A Listen. People are talking about superstitious beliefs. What are the superstitions? Check (✓) the correct answers.

1   Mexico

When scorpions come down from the mountain, people say it will

be hot.


2   the U.K.

Never lend milk to anyone because the person might be a witch who will

make your cow stop giving milk.

steal your cow.

3   Brazil

Landowners told workers not to eat mangoes because they would

get sick.

◻ lose their jobs.

4   Japan

If children don’t cover their stomachs during a storm, the thunder god will steal

their belly buttons.

the children.

Answer & Audioscripts

1 rain.

2 make your cow stop giving milk.

3 get sick.

4 their belly buttons.

Audioscripts in B below

B Listen again. What are the reasons for the superstitions? Complete the sentences.

1   Scorpions can feel __the winds___. The winds always blow __before it rains____.

2   Most people were very __________. They couldn’t afford to __________.

3   The landowners said that so the workers wouldn’t __________.

4   During a storm, the temperature __________. They cover themselves so they won’t __________.

Answer & Audioscripts

1   Scorpions can feel the winds long before humans can. The winds always blow before it rains.

2   Most people were very poor. They couldn’t afford to lend things.

3   The landowners said that so the workers wouldn’t eat the fruit that they were picking.

4   During a storm, the temperature goes down. They cover themselves so they won’t catch cold.


1   Mexico

Woman:   Oh, I saw another scorpion this morning. That’s the third scorpion I’ve seen this week!

Man:   Scorpions are coming down from the mountain. The god of the mountain is getting angry. Soon, strong winds will begin to blow. Then it will rain.

Woman:   I don’t understand. Why do you say that?

Man:   I learned that story when I was a little boy growing up in Mexico. We still watch for scorpions. Scorpions can feel the winds long before humans can, and the winds always blow before it rains.

2   the U.K.

Woman:   In the past in the U.K., people never lent milk to anyone. They believed it was dangerous. People thought that if you lent milk to someone, the person might be a witch. He or she could put a magic spell on your cow, and then the cow would stop giving milk.

Man:   Never lend milk? Why not?

Woman:   A lot of cultures have superstitions about lending things – you know, warning against it. In the U.K., a long time ago, most people were very poor. They were farmers and didn’t have much. They really couldn’t afford to lend things. So the superstition is really a rule. It means, “Don’t lend anything to anyone.”

3   Brazil

Man:   That mango looks good.

Woman:   It is. It’s delicious!

Man:   You know, many years ago landowners used to tell their workers not to eat the mangoes. They told them it would make them sick.

Woman:   How could eating mangoes make the workers sick?

Man:   Actually, the landowners just said that so the workers wouldn’t eat the fruit that they were picking. If the workers ate the mangoes, the owners wouldn’t have as many to sell. If they didn’t have enough fruit to sell, they wouldn’t make much money.

4   Japan

Woman:   Listen! Thunder. When I was little, during a thunderstorm, my mother used to tell me to cover up my belly button. She said if I didn’t cover my belly button, the thunder god would sneak up and steal it.

Man:   The thunder god would steal your belly button? Didn’t that story scare you?

Woman:   Not really, but I always covered it up anyway. Later I figured out the real reason. You see, during a thunderstorm, the temperature goes down. It can get cool very fast. So the story is told to keep children from getting sick. They cover themselves so they won’t catch cold.

Listening task 3

A Listen. Circle the correct answers.

1  This weekend, the woman is going to

    a. attend a friend’s wedding.

    b. get married.

    c. buy a wedding dress.

2  The superstition is about

    a. living a long time.

    b. finding someone to marry.

    c. having a happy marriage.

3  The woman’s wedding dress is

    a. old.

    b. new.

    c. blue.

4  The woman needs something

    a. borrowed.

    b. old.

    c. blue.

5  The man will lend the woman

    a. his shoes.

    b. his wedding ring.

    c. a coin.

Answer & Audioscripts


Man:   Well, Hannah, your wedding day is this weekend. Are you ready?

Hannah:   Yeah, I think so – except for one thing.

Man:   What’s that?

Hannah:   Well, I’m supposed to wear some special things to the wedding for good luck.

Man:   I thought you were planning to wear a wedding dress.

Hannah:   I am, of course! But this superstition says that to have a happy marriage, I have to wear something old, something new, something borrowed – something that I borrow from another person – and something blue.

Man:   Old, new, borrowed, and blue, huh? I’ve never heard that one. So what are you going to wear?

Hannah:   Well, for something old, I’m wearing my grandmother’s diamond ring. And my wedding dress is something new, and I’m wearing blue flowers in my hair.

Man:   OK, that’s something old, new, and blue. You still need something borrowed.

Hannah:   Yeah, I just don’t know what, though.

Man:   Hey! How about this? It’s my lucky coin. I always wear it inside my shoe when I need good luck. You can borrow it and put it in your shoe during the wedding.

Hannah:   Oh, thanks! Now I’m ready for my wedding day.

B Listen. Then check (✓) your answers.


It’s lucky.

It’s unlucky.

It has no special meaning.






Answer & Audioscripts



A coin – a piece of money from your own country. Some people carry a lucky coin. What do you think? Check your answer.


The number four. In some countries, it’s considered unlucky. How do you feel about the number four? Check your answer.


A horseshoe – the piece of metal that a horse wears on the bottom of its foot. Some people believe that a horseshoe brings good luck. What does a horseshoe mean to you? Check your answer.


A rabbit’s foot. Some people think it’s lucky to carry a rabbit’s foot with you. What do you think? Check your answer.


Opening an umbrella indoors. In some cultures, opening an umbrella indoors brings bad luck. How do you feel about it? Check your answer.

Listening task 4

A Listen. People are talking about superstitions. What are the superstitions about? Circle the correct answers.

1   a. eating in restaurants

      b. birthdays

      c. Friday the 13th

2   a. clothes

      b. the color blue

      c. days

3   a. brooms

      b. beds

      c. cleaning

4   a. rainy days

      b. moving

      c. living in an apartment

5   a. the weather

      b. the color black

      c. cats

Answer & Audioscripts

1 c   2 b   3 a   4 b   5 c

Audioscripts in B below

B Listen again. Are the superstitions lucky or unlucky? Check (✓) the correct answers.









Answer & Audioscripts

1 unlucky   2 lucky   3 unlucky

4 unlucky   5 lucky



Man:   Next Friday is my girlfriend’s birthday, and I’m going to take her out. Hey, wait a minute. Next Friday is the … the thirteenth! I can’t go out that night. Something awful will happen. Oh, what am I going to do?


Woman:   I just learned the saying, “Touch blue and your wish will come true.” I didn’t know that one, but I have heard brides are supposed to wear something blue for good luck on their wedding day. I guess I’ll try it when I get married.


Man:   There. I’ve finished cleaning the apartment. The moving company is coming early tomorrow morning. I’ll have to throw this old broom away, though. You should never take an old broom with you when you move. It might cause problem in your new home.


Woman:   I was planning to move on the thirtieth of this month, but I just noticed that’s a Saturday. My mother always said you should never move on rainy days or Saturdays. Those are bad days for a move. I’ll have to pick another day.


Man:   A long time ago, sailors in England and Scotland believed that cats were very lucky animals. If a sailor brought a cat to sea on the ship, it meant that they would have a safe trip.

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